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Trump Reverses Haley's Announcement and Stops New Russian Sanctions
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16 Apr 2018 06:41 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Nikki Haley on "Face the Nation" (Image Source: Screenshot)


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Sunday that there would be additional economic sanctions imposed on Russia, but after Russia commented that it was "international economic raiding," Donald Trump interrupted the plan.

This is all because of Russia backing Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government after what is believed to be a chemical weapons attack. Haley said on "Face the Nation" that on Monday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be announcing sanctions on the Russian companies responsible for the equipment used in the attack.

The President spoke with his national security advisers on Sunday and said he was upset with the planned sanctions as he was not comfortable with executing them yet. This is after he had already authorized airstrikes on Syria on Friday.

Officials with the administration stated that while sanctions are being considered along with other measures, Trump hadn't authorized any yet. They believe it's unlikely he would approve additional sanctions without more action by Russia.

Haley's announcement has been described as a misstatement. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday, "We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future." 

Privately, a White House official said Haley acted too quickly and made "an error that needs to be mopped up." But other officials believe there's more to it than her just misspeaking. 

She's described as cautious and checks in with the President before making statements on television. But some believe that could be the problem, as it's not within the normal process. "She'll usually talk to the President without the rest of the White House and get her remarks cleared directly," said a senior administration official. "Often we don't know about them."

"You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down," Haley said on "Face the Nation." "Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. 

"And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it."

After her comments, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin press secretary, said in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to push Russia out of international markets and constituted "undisguised attempts of unfair competition."

"The sanction campaign against Russia is truly assuming the nature of an obsessive idea," he continued. "We still do not see these sanctions as lawful. We see them as going against international law."

"Certainly, this cannot have any relation to and cannot be motivated by considerations of the situation in Syria or any other country," Peskov added. "I would call this international economic raiding rather than something else." 

While the Kremlin was promising to "hit the Americans in the gut," it ultimately decided to hold off on any counter-sanctions against the States.

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